Dr. Kim’s Blog

Dr. Kim Okamura Welcome to my blog! This blog is a product of my love of dentistry. I dedicate it to all the patients I have served so that they may better understand my craft. The information here will give you and others the power to maintain and protect one of your most priceless gifts ... your SMILE. Happy reading!
After getting your teeth cleaned and polished by a dental hygienist, the dentist will come in to examine your teeth. To many patients, it is hard to follow along with what happens next as your dentist begins rattling off alphanumeric jargon. Dr. Kim Okamura wants you to feel more prepared in following along with what your dentist is really saying while using dental terminology.  Here’s a basic guide to understanding dental lingo, especially what the numbers and letters discussed during your exam mean. What the Numbers and Letters Mean When dentists and dental hygienists talk about numbers and letters as they peer into your mouth, they are identifying specific teeth. Using a coding system of letters and numbers allows dentists to specify which teeth have visual decay or other issues. If you listen to your dentist, you can learn a great deal about how well you are taking care of your teeth ...
The latest mini-trend among those who are conscious about their oral health is to always use a straw when consuming highly sugary, dark-colored, or acidic drinks. However, does using a straw really protect your teeth against cavity-causing bacteria? Stop Acid Erosion Sugar isn’t the only culprit when it comes to tooth decay. High levels of acid in everyday foods and drinks can be just as harmful. From oranges to wine, high acidic food and beverages can wear away your tooth enamel. This decaying process can cause tooth sensitivity and discoloration. If you drink acidic beverages, reducing their contact with your teeth by using a straw and finishing the drink quickly could help your fight against tooth erosion. Reduces Staining Using a straw with those sugary or strongly colored beverages can help reduce the number of stains they cause on the surfaces of your teeth. Drinks like soda or coffee can leave a real impact ...
The holidays are a joyful time for many, but they also bring potential health risks to your teeth. In particular, your dental health can be at risk due to the excess of sweets and alcohol consumed. Here are six teeth-saving tips to help you out this holiday season. Quit Smoking Smoking has a direct link to gum disease, which is the number-one cause of tooth loss. Since all of the shopping and planning required around the holidays can make it a stressful time of year, many smokers increase the frequency of their smoking to try combating stress. Protect your teeth by quitting your smoking habit as soon as possible. Each cigarette further increases your risk of developing gum disease. Avoid Sugary Hard Candies The holidays are filled with hard, sugary candies like peppermints and candy canes, but these are some of the hardest on your teeth. Sucking on these candies exposes your teeth and ...
Laser dentistry is an innovative type of dental care for both patients and dentists alike. Minimally invasive, medical professionals use these extremely focused light beams to alter or remove tissue in small amounts. While laser surgery is not limited to dentistry, many patients have never heard of laser dentistry before having it done. The Benefits of Laser Dentistry Whether you are having laser gum surgery or hard tissue work, you can expect a more comfortable procedure and a shorter recovery time with laser dentistry. Whether serious in nature or simply cosmetic, laser dentistry is a convenient solution to many oral and dental issues. Dentists choose laser dentistry because of distinct benefits that make the procedures go more smoothly, and also reduce discomfort for patients. Unique benefits of laser dentistry include: Less likely to require sutures Anesthesia may not be necessary Reduced likelihood of infection Shorter healing time Less blood loss than traditional surgery   Hard ...
Having a routine and following it daily reduces the need to make mundane decisions throughout the day. Routines enable us to know exactly what tasks we need to do, without having to give it much thought. Your oral hygiene routine is no exception to this statement, and practicing the same daily routine will allow you to not only become more efficient, but it will improve the condition of your smile too. The secret to building good oral hygiene habits is repetition. By developing and perfecting good practices, you will be simultaneously eradicating any bad ones. This helpful checklist will keep your oral hygiene routine on track, so your teeth can remain beautiful and healthy. How To Create A Daily Routine Routines can create consistency in our schedules, help with time management, and encourage us to build healthy habits. Think about why starting a routine is essential to you and find your motivation. Write ...
Halloween is just around the corner and statistics show that just over 25% of candy purchased in the United States each year is bought for Halloween. Between candy, costumes and staying up late with friends, it’s easy to see why Halloween is a favorite holiday for most kids. To help you sort through the trick-or-treating bag loot, we created a breakdown of the best and worst Halloween candy for your teeth. How Sugar Affects Your Teeth The bacteria in your mouth are probably even more excited to indulge on sugar than your child is. When the bacteria eat sugar from candy, starches, and carbohydrates, a weak acid is produced in your mouth. That same acid then carries on to destroy your teeth as much as possible by creating tooth decay and cavities. Don’t let the sugar from candy and other treats play unwanted tricks on your teeth. Tooth-Friendly Treats Don’t let the sugar from ...
Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that causes people to stop breathing at different times throughout their sleep cycles. Sleep apnea can increase the risk of developing heart disease, dementia, and a host of other diseases. Like many chronic conditions, the early stages of sleep apnea may not cause noticeable symptoms, and the condition can often progress to causing significant damage before you may even be aware you have the disorder. The second thing you may not be aware of if you suffer from sleep apnea? That your dentist can help! Understanding Sleep Apnea There are two main types of sleep apnea: Obstructive sleep apnea and Central sleep apnea. Both types of sleep apnea are disruptive to sleep patterns, and people with untreated sleep apnea typically wake up feeling tired and lethargic. If left untreated, it can have a significant impact on your short-term and long-term health in both physical and mental capacities. Obstructive ...
Are you struggling with snoring and sleepless nights? You could be one of 18 million Americans with sleep apnea, and the chances are that your dentist can diagnose your sleep disorder before your doctor can. Your oral health could be to blame for snoring and sleep disturbances. Find out what the first signs of sleep apnea are and how Dr. Okamura can be the earliest diagnostician of your sleep disorder. The Signs of Sleep Apnea Your Dentist Can Spot Because many people visit their dentist more frequently than their family doctor, your dentist can play a vital role in watching for dental symptoms commonly associated with sleep apnea. Jaw pain is a typical indication of sleep apnea, and it is often caused by a combination of these top dental signs of the disorder. Teeth Grinding The first sign of sleep apnea is often teeth grinding. Sleep apnea and bruxism, or teeth grinding, have been related ...
From an aesthetic standpoint, it’s easy to see why teens prefer alternatives to traditional braces, such as Invisalign. Although traditional braces are one of the most effective ways to move teeth in a relatively short period of time, many older teens are often reluctant with the idea of spending their years in High School with brackets and wires. Fortunately for today's teens, there are great alternatives to achieving straighter teeth without orthodontic treatment being the first thing someone sees when you smile. How Does Invisalign Work? Invisalign resembles the plastic retainers that most teenagers get when they are done with their metal braces treatment and the teeth still need to be set in place. The clear retainers, referred to as aligners, move teeth in a similar way to traditional braces by putting pressure on the teeth. This allows for the aligners to gradually shift the teeth into a more appealing alignment. Every two ...
Taking better care of your body by fueling it with healthy foods is a great step in becoming the best version of yourself. But if you’re embarking on a new diet, you probably have your waistline on your mind, not your teeth. Many popular weight-loss diets can have a major impact on your oral health and trends like detox teas, and the ever-so-popular juicing cleanse can really do more harm than good in the long run. How does your diet plan affect your mouth? Diet Fads Worth Skipping Juice Cleansing These “healthy” juices are chock full of sugar that has a negative effect on your oral health. Even with good home care and regular dental cleanings and exams, the sugar from these juices is consumed by the harmful bacteria in your mouth, and it’s immediately converted to acid which wears away your tooth enamel. The bacteria can also irritate the gums and lead to ...